SACRAMENTO – UCLA opens its NCAA Tournament on Friday night with a game against Kent State, but Bruins head coach Steve Alford oddly seemed more focus on the athletic, educational and life opportunities halfway across the country in Bloomington, Indiana, where Tom Crean was just fired.
“Fellas, bring it in,” Alford said to open his team’s practice. “Before we get started, I just want to open your eyes to the world a bit. My job is to teach you about life, too. Now, there’s more beyond Los Angeles. That city and this university might be right for you now, but I want you to consider if maybe a university in, say … Indiana would be better for you next year.”
Alford then gave a PowerPoint presentation all about Indiana University, the Hoosiers basketball program and the town of Bloomington.
“Wow. Pretty amazing stuff,” Alford said at the end of the slideshow, many of his Bruins players asleep on the court. “I think you would all agree. Okay, now let’s get out there and have a good practice. I want to work on nothing but motion offense.”
At the end of practice, the current Bruins head coach handed each of his players a paper as they filed off the court.
“You don’t have to fill it out right now,” Alford said of the Notice of Transfer form. “In fact, I already filled it out for you. You just have to sign. No pressure. But whoever doesn’t sign, doesn’t play tomorrow.”